41st Street Through the Years

41st Street is a key thoroughfare in the Mid-Beach section of Miami Beach, although the area in which it was constructed was once known as “North Beach”. Beginning in the 1920s and continuing into the 1950s, the area experienced steady economic growth as the street filled its buildings with various shops, restaurants, and businesses. Its prominence was marked by the renaming of the street to “Arthur Godfrey Road” after the famous television and radio entertainer in 1956, as well as the construction of the Julia Tuttle Causeway to which it connects in 1959.

Photograph of the Nautilus Hotel circa 1924, which once stood where Mount Sinai Medical Center stands today;
Courtesy of Florida Memory
1960 aerial view photograph of the newly constructed Julia Tuttle Causeway and of Mount Sinai Medical Center;
Courtesy of Florida Memory

The road extends eastward into the Collins Waterfront Historic District beyond the 41st Street Bridge, which was constructed over Indian Creek to connect the tourist-oriented oceanside properties to the commercial and residential sections of mainland Mid-Beach.

Vintage postcard featuring the 41st Street Bridge;
Courtesy of Florida Memory

Sculptors Ettore Pellegatta and John B. Orr contributed artistically to the street, creating several works of art under contract with Carl Fisher. Located today near 41st Street and Pinetree Drive is “The Great Spirit” statue built in 1924, which originally stood at Alton Road and depicts a Native American man wearing a chief’s headdress and mounted on a horse. “The Polo Player” statue was built in 1923 and is a prominent figure at Polo Park, which once served as an actual polo field adjacent to Carl Fisher’s Nautilus Hotel. Orr is also responsible for the construction of the ornamental fountain at Liebman Square.

1960 photograph of “The Great Spirit” statue;
Courtesy of FIU Digital Collections
1990 photograph of “The Polo Player” statue at Polo Park;
Courtesy of FIU Digital Collections

Some of the most recognized oceanside properties near 41st Street include The Confidante, a true showpiece of Art Deco architecture originally built in 1940 as the Lord Tarleton Hotel (architect Victor Nellenbogen), and the famous Fontainebleau and Eden Roc resort hotels designed by Morris Lapidus in the 1950s.

The 41st Street area has also historically acted as a hub for the local Miami Beach Jewish community, with many Jewish businesses, restaurants, and places of worship lining the road from start to finish.

Today, the street continues to symbolize the center of Mid-Beach and bridge the lively historic beachside resorts to the iconic 41st Street central business district. Some of the structures from the street’s earlier years still remain to this day, including North Beach Elementary, the Forge restaurant, the Roosevelt Theater, and the Giller Building.

1963 photograph of the Giller Building;
Courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel
Aerial view photograph of 41st Street facing eastward;
Courtesy of Florida Memory

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